Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Useful words for Korea

These are words that I used a lot on my first trip to Korea: either I didn't know them when I went, or I wished I'd learned them better. This isn't an exhaustive list of basic words—in fact, there are a lot of important words in Korean that aren't on this list—I skipped the words that I knew well and was able to use without having to look them up. (I had a fairly intense half-year of classroom Korean under my belt when I went.) It's also relevant that I was in a home-stay situation, so many of these words have to do with household objects or are ways to be polite or express gratitude. I've grouped them into loose categories according to what made sense to me. Any errors are mine, because I am a careless yangja; I welcome corrections or clarifications.

Useful Verbs
떠나다: to leave
손택하다 : to choose
설명하다: to explain
옮기다: to interpret 
자르다: to cut
돌아오다 : to come back
돌아가다: to go back
가져오다 : to bring
놓다: to put
필요하다: to need
허락하다 : to allow, permit

Household Words
수건: towel
계단 : stairs
소금: salt
젓가락: chopsticks
접시: plate
그릇: bowl
쓰래기: garbage

Food Words
빙수 : shaved ice (a popular dessert)
닭강정: fried chicken (a popular street snack)
더덕 : burdock root (a common banchan)

Politeness Words
적절하다 : to be appropriate
감동하다: to be moved, touched*
넉넉하다: to be generous
친철하다 : to be kind
정중하다 : to be polite
환대 : hospitality
친철하게 환대해 주셔서 고맙습니다.  Thank you for your kind hospitality.
너무 전준합니다: You're too polite. (Friends told me that this sounds better in Korean than saying "You're too kind," or "You're too generous," which don't translate well and might inadvertently come off as insults.)
*The worst mistake I made in Korean my whole visit was to mix up 감동하다 with 침착하다 on a thank-you card to my host parents, thereby inadvertently telling them that I was calmed by their hospitality (rather than touched by their hospitality).

밝게 : bright
깨진 : broken
젊은: young
빈: empty
마지막: last
틀린 : wrong (incorrect)
귀엽다: to be cute
운이 좋아요: be lucky (literally: [your] luck is good)
궁금하다 : to be curious
완벽하다 : to be perfect
똑똑하다 : to be smart
달콤하다: to be sweet
침착하다 : to be calm, cool
특수하다 : to be special

조심하다 (操心): to be careful

이미, 벌써: already
거의 : almost
조심히: carefully
절대 (絶對): never
곧, 이내: soon
더 작은: (literally, more little) less [adjective]—e.g., less beautiful, less slow, etc.

Useful Phrases
힘[기운]내!: Good luck!
내가 살게요: My treat.
저는 [네]가 [그것]을 즐기길 바라요. I hope [you] will enjoy [this thing].

Useful Constructions
[좋아] 보예요: looks/seems [good]
(뭐뭐) 없이: without (something)

Random Nouns
박사: doctorate
두통 : headache
이발, 머리 깎기: haircut
지도: map
(지하철) 노선: (subway) line

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